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How about a list of constructive things the gov’t could do? I’ll start with just 2

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  • Mon, Jan 26, 2009 - 04:19pm

    #1
    Xflies

    Xflies

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    How about a list of constructive things the gov’t could do? I’ll start with just 2

Here’s a challenge to the CM Brigade… let’s ask the readers to put their best foot forward by making good, well thought suggestions on what we think the gov’t could do.  Posters should keep in mind the benefits and consequences of their suggestions and as usual all suggestions should be subject to a solid debate.  In a few weeks, perhaps choose the top 10, repost them for final comment and then have everyone send it off to their local gov’t representative.  Here are my 2 basic suggestions:

 1.  If the gov’t wants to spend billions on alternative energy, how about spending some of that on subsidizing solar panels for homes/offices to calculation roughly based on PAYBACK.  For example, have some of those bright scientists predict (on average!) the savings a solar panel would provide and have the gov’t subsidize the difference between the purchase price and 2-3 years of savings.  Most people would say that they would put in solar panels if the payback was better.  Improvements to the home would help people stay in their homes, save electricity and cut back on oil consumption. 

2.  Regulate the amount of packaging on goods.  I can’t think of a worse use of resources than excessive packaging.  I would make the rule easy to follow and easy to enforce.  I would make it weight based and suggest a certain ratio ex. for every 100 grams, you’re allowed 5 grams of packaging.  I know, people can probably think of exceptions where something is really light but takes up a lot of volume so you need more packaging but either you think of ways to overcome that issue or, as with anything, you can apply to make some sort of exemption.  This is to stop 99% of the unnecessary packaging out there, yes there will be exceptions but that shouldn’t deter from the main goal.  I hate seeing something like a Flash card for sale at Future Shop wrapped in hard plastic packaging that weights more than 5x the actual product…

 

I look forward to a really good list of well thought of suggestions that survive the flames and attacks of other posters… maybe offer an incentive where those who’s suggestions make it on the list, get a free 1 yr subscription to CM’s site?

  • Mon, Jan 26, 2009 - 05:03pm

    #2
    Xflies

    Xflies

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    Hey Erik, do you think you could offer a 1 yr CM subscription

to kickstart this thread?  What would your actionable suggestions be?  I’d love to see a formal letter written by the CM brigade for everyone to pass on to their gov’t reps and include a CM dvd while your at it 🙂

 

 

  • Mon, Jan 26, 2009 - 07:18pm

    #3
    robert2009email

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    Re: How about a list of constructive things the gov’t could …

Hello,

This is my first post.

1)  A small, constructive idea 

If I could ask the government to do one constructive thing which would have immediate benefits, I would ask that all unsolicited mail (junk mail) be forbidden.  The majority of junk mail (especially catalogs) is tossed straight in the trash.  Think of the energy required to produce the ink, the paper, and the delivery of that junk mail.  There are other solutions now – advertisers can utilize the internet.  This would also apply to phone books – no longer necessary.

2) A large, constructive idea

Hmmm, maybe an investment in algae bioreactors would be a larger solution.  Algae grows amazingly fast, consumes CO2 as feedstock (bonus!), and can be pressed for oil.  (diesel engines can run on vegetable oil in warm weather)  The best part is that the cake-like meal that is formed after pressing the algae is an excellent source of food for cattle or as a soil-enhancer.  (Actually, the best part is that we can keep growing algae forever … it’s sustainable.)

Cheers,

Robert

  • Mon, Jan 26, 2009 - 08:24pm

    #4

    Vanityfox451

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    Re: How about a list of constructive things the gov’t could …

Hello Xflies,

I’m going to cheat ever so slightly and cause my chance of winning to slip to zero by posting up a link to this film :-

The Story Of Stuff

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLBE5QAYXp8&feature=channel_page

…In my opinion, if the government could implement a way of making all the changes that are highlighted in this brilliant film, we’d be a great deal closer to having something of a future for the generations to come.

Yeah, I know I’m being preachy but, pick any one of the facts brought up in this film to fix and I’ll agree with it, just choose a nice big juicy example!!

While on the subject of this, and since I’m fully disqualified, I think this one tops out the first film if you stay with it. Part 2 made me fall off my chair the first time I saw it. If we humans had spent less time playing hide the salami we’d pretty much have all the resources we’d ever need. Maybe if we had less people on the planet in the first place, we wouldn’t need to create a government thats so big it carries the cost of Polands national debt to run it per month and we’d actually have people voted in that did for the individual rather than for the banks – oh for some peace of mind – back to reality :-

Immigration By The Numbers

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyTmClBU7nA&feature=channel_page

Boy have we got the world governed backward!!

Take Care,

Paul

P.S.

Robert2009email,

welcome to Chris Martenson on your maiden post! I second you that we should make junk mail illegal. I have a little tip for you, since government are always so slow in implementing new laws (except when bailing out their banks and personal stocks and shares). Even though I don’t think there is going to be so much junk mail in a little while, what I suggest you do is, if you find they’ve supplied you with a freepost envelope, attatch that to a box containing 2 house bricks and post it back. With luck, if you could spread this idea to everyone you know and they did the same and so on and so on, within a very short space of time, the companies sending out this crap will go bust from the postal charges – You Heard It Here First!

  • Mon, Jan 26, 2009 - 09:04pm

    #5
    lpowell23

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    Re: How about a list of constructive things the gov’t could …

In my humble opinion I have two suggestions:

1.   An overhaul of the monetary system putting it back onto the gold standard.    Many economist refer to the start of our current troubles as commencing when Richard Nixon took the US Dollar off the gold standard which no longer restricted the government from printing more dollars than were backed by gold.    Do you think this would be practical today?

2.   Use some of the stimulus monies to rebuild & modernize cities, develop and upgrade mass transit systems, including the railroads, that can operate on renewable alternate energy.   So far, I’ve only heard President Obama mention rebuilding roads and bridges which doesn’t create long-term productivity, and it continues our dependence of fossil fuels.   Such a massive project would create millions of jobs and would help to solve several problems.   We would be upgrading the infrastructure, creating long-term employment, eventually realize a reduction of our usage of oil when the new mass transit system was up and running, and again become a manufacturing nation instead of a consumer nation.   This would also help to boost our trade imbalance.  

How’s that? 

 

  • Mon, Jan 26, 2009 - 10:19pm

    #6
    Headless

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    Re: How about a list of constructive things the gov’t could …

Xflies,

Great idea!

Jared Diamond, in his book Collapse (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collapse_(book)), addresses the problem of forest fires that that wreak havoc out of all normal proportion due to fire suppression policies that were in effect for decades in the U.S. He suggests that what is needed is a culling and removal of the build up of organic material (some live, some dead) that blankets the floors of the nations forests. However, according to him,  the cost of such a program would be about $1000/acre; thus, we’d be looking at a bill of about $100 Billion to return the forests to a state that is more in line with the natural state (that which existed before the suppression efforts).

All that organic material represents energy, though the CO2 emmissions that woudl result from the various ways of using it probably redefine the ends of the spectrum (I have no idea).

Off the top of my head, it seems that when TOWPs (The Obama Works Projects) are considered, there might be an argument for putting people to work in a way where there is actually some EROEI and in a way that, for lack of probable destruction via conflagration, probably has the same effect as creating tangible goods; that is to say, unburned buildings, etc…

  • Tue, Jan 27, 2009 - 12:54am

    #7
    montypelerin

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    Re: How about a list of constructive things the gov’t could …

I suppose DISBAND would not be considered constructive.

Assuming the first suggestion is considered too impractical, I will move slightly (probably only slightly) more toward the practical. How about passing a Constitutional Amendment that mandated that Government Spending of all types was tied to the prior year’s GDP and that it could not exceed 10% (or some lower amount) of that figure. A transition period would be allowed where the target would reduce by 1% per year until the 10% was reached. Penalties would be imposed on Congress if the goal was exceeded. These could be monetary (disincentives regarding pay reductions, etc.) or physical (stocks or hangings).

Stimuli will not work and anything short of specific, measurable measures with severe consequences attached will not work. Even these will be emasculated because of "national emergencies." 

  • Tue, Jan 27, 2009 - 01:13am

    #8
    Xflies

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    Re: How about a list of constructive things the gov’t could …

Welcome Robert!

I am honored that your first post was on this topic 🙂 

I think the idea about junk mail reflects the fustration most people would agree with but I’ll be the devils advocate.  The problem with both your idea and mine about wasted resources on packaging is that it goes against the free market ideology where the purists would say that if there was a demand for packaging or junk mail, it wouldn’t exist.  The reality is that advertising budgets in both marketing and packaging have companies ‘thinking’ that it benefits their sales somehow.  I’m not sure what the answer is and what the gov’t would call excessive… the funny thing is that if the market is really there for such waste, packaging and junk mail companies will find their way around things.  I do think junk mail will die on its own, anyone spending money on flyers or junk mail will soon see that they would be better off in spending their marketing money elsewhere.  Part of the problem is that mail service and paper are way too cheap in our society.  Either way, I think the days of junk mail are limited so in the end you will get your wish.  Packaging, on the other hand, may need the help of an ‘invisible hand’ to make that go away.

 Your algae idea sounds interesting… I’m not a scientist so I can’t comment other than that we, as the people, could ask for a certain amount of the budget to be spent on funding scientific research.  There probably are funds set aside for stuff like this but it would be good to know how much it is before I could comment on whether I think it is enough.

  • Tue, Jan 27, 2009 - 01:21am

    #9
    Xflies

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    Re: How about a list of constructive things the gov’t could …

Thx for posting!  Personally, I do think it would be great to back off the whole fiat currency thing but as much as I think it would be a healthy thing in the long run, I also know that it would be an ice cold day in hell before that happens. Not only are the implications so broad there would be no way I could think of every one of them, but it would be impossible to do with the largest economy/dollar in the world.  One of the reasons why the USD has bucked so many doomsayers is because of the fact that during times of distress/volatility, people look to the largest and most stable as the currency of choice.  When I analyzed the propspects of currencies based on 1.  size of debt/gdp, 2. ability to use effective monetary/fiscal policy, 3. diversity of economy, 4. level of foreign investment, 5. size of overall money supply, then it became clear why the Euro (as a collective, it is impossible for them to issue proper and timely monetary/fiscal policy) couldn’t step up as the global currency of choice and it also explains the blow ups of other economies which are dependent on just 1 or 2 sectors (aka baltic states and the collapse of oil, australia and the collapse of resource commodities).

 Your suggestion of rebuilding more things than just bridges and roads is probably on the list but to be honest, how many people would retrain to do manual labour?  I guess if you’re desperate enough, a banker who is 45 years old might retrain to become a pot hole fixer, but I have a sinking feeling that the average North American citizen is spoiled and wouldn’t get their hands dirty.  In the end, I think if people are hungry enough they’ll do it but I also think this type of spending program would take too long to implement.

  • Tue, Jan 27, 2009 - 01:21am

    #10
    Xflies

    Xflies

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    Re: How about a list of constructive things the gov’t could …

Thx for posting!  Personally, I do think it would be great to back off the whole fiat currency thing but as much as I think it would be a healthy thing in the long run, I also know that it would be an ice cold day in hell before that happens. Not only are the implications so broad there would be no way I could think of every one of them, but it would be impossible to do with the largest economy/dollar in the world.  One of the reasons why the USD has bucked so many doomsayers is because of the fact that during times of distress/volatility, people look to the largest and most stable as the currency of choice.  When I analyzed the propspects of currencies based on 1.  size of debt/gdp, 2. ability to use effective monetary/fiscal policy, 3. diversity of economy, 4. level of foreign investment, 5. size of overall money supply, then it became clear why the Euro (as a collective, it is impossible for them to issue proper and timely monetary/fiscal policy) couldn’t step up as the global currency of choice and it also explains the blow ups of other economies which are dependent on just 1 or 2 sectors (aka baltic states and the collapse of oil, australia and the collapse of resource commodities).

 Your suggestion of rebuilding more things than just bridges and roads is probably on the list but to be honest, how many people would retrain to do manual labour?  I guess if you’re desperate enough, a banker who is 45 years old might retrain to become a pot hole fixer, but I have a sinking feeling that the average North American citizen is spoiled and wouldn’t get their hands dirty.  In the end, I think if people are hungry enough they’ll do it but I also think this type of spending program would take too long to implement.

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